"The Pop Video Test" was a joint effort between Scott Jacobs and Tom Weinberg of the Chicago Editing Center, and the Video Group of the Bell and Howell Corporation. This cooperative effort between the independent video community and a corporate video distributor was intended to test the viability of the home video market. The videomakers assembled ten hours of video pieces meant as an alternative to available pre-recorded programming (ie Hollywood movies). Fifty VCR owners in the Chicago area agreed to examine and review the tapes. Test viewers then received the programming two hours at a time, in groupings labeled Video Art, Documentary, Entertainment, and Potpourri.
0:00Copy video clip URL Pop Video Series graphics
0:34Copy video clip URL The Wizard by Lillian Somersaulter.
1:00Copy video clip URL Animated story about a wizard who makes mischief by ruining the pies of women in town or turning people into animals.
8:25Copy video clip URL Greetings from Lanesville, home of the world’s smallest TV station. The home of the Ginsbergs, where a cousin from the Soviet Union is visiting. The family speaks in Russian and then decide to watch Lanesville TV. We then see the program they are watching, which is the opening credits of Lanesville TV.
11:32Copy video clip URL The Lanesville TV newsbuggy with Bart Friedman.
13:22Copy video clip URL A young boy shows us the site of a car accident. We then stop and talk to a man in a truck about his pigs.
15:06Copy video clip URL A man advertises that he has a room for rent. He then tells us about his wife being on vacation.
15:45Copy video clip URL Harriet shows off her cast and the signatures on it.
16:34Copy video clip URL Woman sits on her lawn with her dog and introduces us to her friend from Brooklyn who is standing on her head. The friend talks about the benefits of standing on one’s head.
17:58Copy video clip URL Lucy Blumberg talks with her grandson Skip. Skip asks for phone calls about community events or information.
19:05Copy video clip URL Footage of a recent fire in a nearby town. A dad yells at his son about how he shouldn’t be scared of the fire because he’ll need to be a volunteer fireman when he grows up. Skip then juggles for us and explains what happened at the fire. The little boy talks to Skip about how he’s no longer afraid of the fire, but he is afraid of the truck.
22:45Copy video clip URL Skip’s grandmother talks about how she likes the show and they talk about a fireman who was injured in the fire. Skip then talks on the phone to someone who tells him that he picked oranges in California for Skip’s grandmother.
24:25Copy video clip URL Parry Teasdale fixes a car. He is given a script of a message he is supposed to read and he makes alterations before reading it for the camera.
26:00Copy video clip URL Tom Weinberg on location talking to a woman about a UFO sighting. Skip and Tom talk to a man about the saucer. They talk a series of people about the saucer. Nancy Cain shows us her “footage” of the event, which coincidentally features all of the people interviewed. Then Tom runs off into the woods and gets picked up by the saucer.
31:55Copy video clip URL Carol Vontobel and John Keeler discuss the saucer report and ask for phone calls about it. The phone then rings and a man claims to have not seen the saucer. Then one of the aliens interjects on the phone call and tells Mr Ginsberg that he will take him on the ship. Then we cut to the studio where they are editing the footage we just saw. Nancy Cain closes the program.
34:28Copy video clip URL Back to the Ginsberg’s living room. They seem to be explaining the program to their relatives in Russian.
35:27Copy video clip URL Credits.
36:35Copy video clip URL Major League Baseball Game of the Week by Doug Hall. Candlestick Park, San Francisco CA. Atlanta Braves vs San Francisco Giants. Footage of players warming up.
38:00Copy video clip URL Doug Hall, Artist in Residence, talks to someone and claims he can do whatever he wants there. He stands by the batting cages and talks to Darrell Evans, outfielder. They discuss how to use chewing tobacco. Gary Thomasson, outfielder, asks Hall for an autograph. Then we see newscasters talking about the team. Hall joins the players in catching and throwing. Hall sits in the dugout and gets another autograph request from a player. Footage of Hall signing as many fan autographs of the players. Hall gives expert commentary on the players’ abilities. Herm Starrette, pitching coach, tells Hall that he has shown enough dedication to play in the game today. Television (film) footage of the team’s lineup. Hall is featured in the lineup, but shot on video. We switch to Hall watching the footage on TV. He tells us we’re going to watch another, more interesting game.
48:20Copy video clip URL Giants game. Hall present as pinch hitter. Footage is cut so it appears like Hall is playing in the game. Hall gets a home run.
53:55Copy video clip URL The Laughing Alligator by Juan Downey. Footage of Yanomami Indian tribe, shot in the Amazon throughout 1976 and 1976. Downey’s stepdaughter introduces the tape and the tribe.
55:10Copy video clip URL Downey explains that he got bored of shooting Americans and decided that he wanted to shoot and live in the Amazon rainforest. He relates how he was saved by his video camera when he found himself in a stand-off with armed Yanomami Indians, who considered the camera a weapon on par with their own and backed off.
59:50Copy video clip URL Men climb trees. Downey talks about a tribe that eats their loved ones after they die in order to keep something of the dead with them. The stepdaughter relates the creation myth of the tribe, which involved two men copulating and giving birth to a baby out of one’s thigh.
1:03:20Copy video clip URL Stepdaughter narrates an incident in which a young girl suddenly became extremely ill and was cured by a shaman. She then explains the division of labor between the sexes and marriage customs.
1:11:10Copy video clip URL Wife talks about the hallucinogenic drugs that the tribe creates from trees.
1:15:22Copy video clip URL Downey relates the myth of the origin of fire. It was originally kept in the mouth of an alligator, but children made the alligator laugh and acquired it for themselves.
1:19:17Copy video clip URL Downey explains that an old Indian, nearly deaf and mute, wanted him to shoot her singing. This tape became a favorite of the tribe, who helped shoot it.
1:20:13Copy video clip URL Credits.
1:21:00Copy video clip URL Modern Love/Modern Marriage/Modern Sexuality. Produced by Max Almy. Four TV screens appear, each with the same set of lips giving different “love” speeches: the first professes her love, the second nicely breaks up with her mate, the third wants to reconcile, and the fourth wants to be set free to find herself. Describes the stages of a relationship.
1:26:20Copy video clip URL Still photographs of a woman. Introspective narration related to gender roles.
1:30:38Copy video clip URL Woman describes what she likes while images of a body appear and disappear.
1:32:29Copy video clip URL General Motors by Phil Morton. Morton seems to be upset because his new car doesn’t work.
1:52:30Copy video clip URL Credits.
1:53:42Copy video clip URL End of tape.